Oesophageal Patients Association
3,469 members2,127 posts

ill health retirement

Hi has anyone else been retired from work on ill health retirement? Did you have a medical ? My employer is recommending I have a medical and I finish through ill health after struggling to do my job since having a oesophagectomy in 2012 it does depend on the doctors report but even if the doctors report dismisses the ill health retirement claim my employer has said they will dismiss me on ill health

17 Replies

Hi Margie, don't know the answers, but suggest you seek help, support and advice from your Union,mif you're in one, or ACAS if not. Also from a financial perspective talk to Citizens Advice Bureau or benefits advisors within your local authority.

Have they made all reasonable adjustments to your job role, workplace environment, hours, working patterns etc?

How do you feel about it too? Are you distressed, or relieved, or worried about finances etc.

I am lucky to be able to work, but when I get dumping etc at work I just wish I had a sofa in my office and could take a lie down to recover!!

Good luck and do make sure you have someone to support you, you can usually take someone with you to such meetings.

Hilary x

1 like

Thank you Hilary my union have not been helpful I have spoken to citizens advice who say I have a case for disability discrimination but financially I am unable to afford a solicitor

Margie xx


Hi Margie,

I feel blessed that I have been able to take myself off of shifts at our Inn but have not applied for disability insurance which I will look into. It will be 1 year since my esphogectomy surgery and will be a year in August since finish of chemo and just finished my Herceptin Therapy 4 weeks ago, do not have a Dr. appt for 2.5 months! Still, have been able to work from home on my computer and held my 1st staff meeting in the last 1.5 years. Like everyone have good and bad days. If I go to strong a couple of days a week I go down. Most of all trying to get back to the normal but know it is my new normal. So maybe you could discuss with your employer a plan to go forward? Not quite certain your role at your workplace? I just know that I can no longer doing 14 hours on foot shifts plus the paperwork. Because I am the owner I have hired staff to replace my shifts! Hang in there! I have been re inventing myself and it has been baby steps! Wishing you well and hope that you are able to reach a happy medium!


1 like

Thanks Lisa I asked for the retirement as my manager is a bully and I believe she set me up to fail by giving me tasks she knew I would really struggle with but lied to HR when I complained

1 like

There are some Employers Notes on the OPA website that might be useful


I think there are some issues that an employer has to take into account:

The recovery time is a lot longer than most people realise

Some physical activities (eg bending after eating) may cause particular problems

The stamina levels are often not the same long term afterwards but one does not know this for 2-3 years

There is an argument that the effects after the successful operation can in effect create a 'disability', in which case there are arguments that can be brought into play about disability discrimination.

A decision about whether some level of 'disability' is permanent or not is very difficult to make.

I do not think that anybody really thinks of themselves as being 'disabled' by this treatment in the normal sense, but we are using the term for employment legislation purposes here.

Younger people are much more affected by this; for people who are, say, in their 60s there are some who are not unhappy to be thinking about reducing their employment commitments , but that is not to say that we all prefer to control the process ourselves rather than the employer calling the shots.

Some employers can be very rigid about all this; others are much happier to discuss flexible arrangements that can suit both sides.

For some, being effectively forced out from continuing a job you love is another unsought trauma and source of grief that adds insult to injury, and is yet another thing you might have to come to terms with.


Thank you Alan my employer has said that if I don't get the ill health retirement after my medical they will dismiss me on ill health grounds anyway

I have been taking time off sick due to my line manager making my job more difficult as I am unable to walk long distances she has put me out walking 3 days a weeks which I never had to do before my surgery she has been unsupportive but HR believed her when she said other staff have got medical issues so unable to go walking which is not true so I have as asked for the retirement as I feel bullied by her


Hi Margie, you really don't need hassle at work after what you've been through! I'm appalled that your Union is not doing more to help you as this is what you pay them for! Management have to take bullying very seriously these days, so you should take out a grievance against your manager and the Union will support you on this. They should also be putting forward your case for retirement on health grounds and back this up with medical evidence. I'm surprised you're not off with stress. Good luck and I hope you get a satisfactory outcome. I'll get off my soapbox now! Love Angi xx


Hi Angie I am off again with stress and have had councelling my union are not helpful

My insurance solicitors have asked for more evidence of discrimination and bullying before they think of taking on my case but I'm not sure how I'm supposed to get this evidence?

Love Margie xx


Would any of your colleagues be willing to give you some evidence by way of a statement? It's a difficult situation if they are still working there. Counselling will help you work through things and make you stronger. What about medical evidence from your Dr - did you discuss the bullying with your Dr? Love Angi xx



Do you have a Building / Content insurance with legal protection included? If you took out that option that is likely to cover the legal costs in fighting any unfair dismissal claim. My strong advice would be to start a diary where you record every conversation made with your employer. My view is that if your employer requires you to do more walking, they have not taken into account your condition ( I believe you would be considered as disabled), they have failed to make reasonable adjustments.

Whilst you may have a case. You also have to ask yourself is it likely that you will be returning to work? If the answer to that is ' no' you need to think what are you going to do? Facing these questions can be painful and difficult.

Good luck



Hi Steve I have tried solicitors with my insurance but they say my case has to have a 51% chance of winning and mine is just under so unless I can get more evidence of discrimination and bullying they won't take the case

So I have decided to try for ill health retirement as I can't afford to just finish


You may have to take time to think through whether you want to continue to work for this employer or not. Undertaking a prolonged dispute will involve you in a lot of time, anxiety and energy which you may not want to expend, regardless of the injustice you feel. Having a preliminary chat with a good employment solicitor (if you are a member of a union they may be able to arrange this) may help you to clarify things, or an organisation like ACAS. You have the rest of your life to live and you do not want to spend it with needless hassle. But trying to find an acceptable compromise is also important.

The 'medical issues' of other staff will inevitably be different from yours. Recovering from this surgery is not just a simple of matter of having the cancer cut out, a few sessions of chemotherapy and then being back at work after six weeks, but your boss will not necessarily understand that. There is no particular reason why they should because the length of recovery time does surprise us all.

There are some issues about returning to work after cancer treatment that are frequently faced by people.

Macmillan Cancer Support are very good at dealing with this sort of thing, and I think it might be worthwhile looking through their website and obtaining some booklets that you can give to your employer





Hi Margie,

This is a very difficult situation to face that is an added stress at a time when you don't need it.

Having a physically demanding job I faced a similar situation. Post operatively and still far from well my manager asked me when I was returning to work. As I was unable to fulfil my contract, it would be terminated in 3 months time, when I would have been away for a year. The letter was typed and delivered by hand arriving before I got home. Was he really that desperate to balance his budget and get somebody else in my place.

As the operation was hoped to extend my life by 3yrs,did I need to spend my time with the stress of looking into other options, so I went into retirement. Did I feel let down, yes but I didn't wish him to be diagnosed with throat cancer 3yrs later. I often wonder if he remembered how he treated me.

Going to the union? I was the unpaid union steward and knew that would not be a good outcome.

Every ones situation is different but there is help out there and extra stress is something you do not need.

So I hope you are able to soon resolve this, perhaps on health grounds.

Looking back now , all this happened 20yrs ago, do I regret it? I'm still here and still busy, fraying round the edges a bit ,but then the government has just sent me a reminder that I am entitled to a little more pension soon, every 4 weeks I shall be able to go to Poundland and buy something!!

I hope you soon manage to resolve your situation and life gets easier Sally


I have applied for ill health retirement as I cannot work for a bully anymore


Nowadays Court proceedings do not usually apply to cases of unfair dismissal.The complaint is dealt with at Tribunal where you can represent yourself and do not need a Solicitor.There is a relatively modest filing fee to lodge a complaint .....many employers change their tune at the first step which is contact by ACAS seeking to arbitrate .Stick with it; you are on firm ground.


Thank you I am going to have a medical in a few weeks as I want to finish work I can't afford to just walk away so they said they will dismiss me on ill health anyway so I've applied for ill health retirement but I'm not sure if I should wait until that is sorted then speak to Acas as I know they will make things difficult


The important thing is that you do not do or say anything which could be used to reduce your rights; either in connection with your current employer or with Social Services in the future.

For instance :

1) If you have applied for Medical Retirement it may be inferred that you are aware of and accept that you are incapable of work and therefore you have no valid claim for unfair dismissal.

Equally -

2) If you have voluntarily made yourself redundant then you may experience difficulty in claiming benefits.

Who is providing the doctor for the proposed medical assessment? You or your Employer? If the latter then you already know the outcome!

It very much depends on what you want --- do you think you can work again or not.Being realistic I think that the majority of members of this site would say that they would struggle to commute and carry out any duties which entailed any element of up/down,in/out such as visiting customer premises.But, subject to age,training etc would aspire to holding their own at ,say, computer based activities like HR,Accounting,

Media,Graphics,Architecture and so on.

This is a complicated and tricky area of the law and I am not qualified to give you the detailed help you need.

ACAS exists to help --but naturally it is keen not to waste tax-payers money by pursuing lost causes.

Don't be disheartened we are are all rooting for you.


You may also like...